The Spiderpool

The history of the Spiderpool is the quintessential Hollywood story, a particularly American brand of fairy tale that begins with excess and eccentricity, wild parties and beautiful women. Like so many American dreams, it was over almost as soon as it began, and what was once celebrated became nothing more than crumbling remnants of exploitation, disappointment and lost dreams. Continue reading

I Live My Life (1935)

Spunky, beautiful heiress Kay Bentley (Joan Crawford) decides to go ashore when her father’s yacht docks in the Greek Islands. While there, she meets handsome Irish archaeologist Terry O’Neill (Brian Aherne) on an important dig, and after the standard debutante flirtation-via-irritation method doesn’t work, she decides to try again the next day. Discovering he has no time for useless rich party people, she pretends to be her father’s secretary. It works, and the two spend a romantic day together. He promises to travel to New York City to meet her, but because Kay is a spoiled brat, she has no intention of following through; besides, she never told him her real name. Terry tells his fellow professors and archaeologists, including one Betty Collins, played by a woefully underused Aline MacMahon, that he’s going to New York to get married. Unfortunately, he discovers the woman he has been writing all these months really was the secretary of millionaire industrialist G.P. Bentley (Frank Morgan), and not Kay at all. But in no time Terry discovers Kay’s true identity, that she’s a typical trustafarian with a few dozen upper class twits as friends. A few pointed words later, Terry leaves, and Kay starts to wonder if she really did care about him after all. Joan on a leaning board, with Brian Aherne, W.S. Van Dyke, Fred Keating and Frank Morgan during filming of I Live My Life, courtesy A Certain Cinema.   Kay is meant to be your typical young debutante, the kind … Continue reading

Happy Birthday to the Best Shatner We Could Ever Hope For

William Shatner Born March 22, 1931       Courtesy Star Trek Daily Pic                             Detail from the 1967 “Star Blecch” parody Shatner and Nimoy were reading in the pictures above. You can find my Flickr set of all the original artwork by Mort Drucker from this parody here.     This detail of the 1976 Mad Magazine parody courtesy My Star Trek Scrapbook, where you can find the entire “Star Trek: The Musical.”     Kirstie Alley asking herself, “Why didn’t I think of that?”     Album picture courtesy Frank’s Vinyl Museum.     Shatner!    

Front Page Woman (1935) Photo Gallery

Front Page Woman (1935) Starring Bette Davis, George Brent and Roscoe Karns Credits: Bette portrait from Stirred, Straight Up, With a Twist; George, Bette and Roscoe from Doctor Macro; portrait of George and lobby card from Will McKinley; ad via mudwerks on Tumblr; yellow lobby card from Greenman2008 on Flickr.

King Kong (1933)

This exhibition print by noted Hollywood still photographer Ernest Bachrach is the best King Kong promotional ever.   Another Bachrach exhibition print. Bachrach did a notable series of photos of Marilyn Monroe in the 1950s. During his time at RKO, he did a lovely set of close-up stills on Katharine Hepburn for Alice Adams, several of which can be seen here at the listings for a recent Profiles in History auction. A short blurb about retouching these photos can be found at The Katharine Hepburn Theatre.   Merian C. Cooper and Fay Wray demonstrate the mechanism used to secure her inside the mechanical monkey’s grip during filming.   Fay’s tattered island couture.

More of What We Need: Una Merkel

Una Merkel is terrific. Una is the savior of many a pre-Code musical and post-Code comedy, her sarcasm as wide as those big doe eyes of hers. Hollywood, especially the Hollywood Una resided in, was obsessed with glamour, and if a movie star wasn’t busy being fabulous they had better be singing or dancing, or, if energetic enough (and male enough) to be in a group of other like-minded men, many of whom had faces made for radio, a star could get by with being wacky. Una was different. It’s not that Una wasn’t glamorous, because she was, with that lovely skin and a figure designers were delighted to dress. And it’s not that she couldn’t sing or dance; she more than holds her own in 42nd Street with the hot new musical actress in town, Ginger Rogers. But Una’s true talent was in being a grounded, intelligent woman, simultaneously fun and stern. Her sarcasm was never for the sake of cruelty, but rather expressed the frustrations of the audience, probably once again caught in the midst of a madcap, unbelievable plot. Una was often the only voice of reason amongst a sea of beautiful people doing very silly things for the sake of a plot. She narrowed her eyes and pointed her finger at people who needed a good scolding; her good-hearted machinations kept plots moving right along; she never took an egomaniac seriously. Audiences needed and loved Una Merkel, and I do, too.

Halloween Cheesecake: 15 Pictures

Yesterday, I re-posted a 2010 entry of mine with Clara Bow in a host of Halloween-themed promotional pictures. Recently I found another from the set, and it inadvertently started off a lengthy search for Halloween props reused repeatedly in pictures over the years: That mask and the pumpkins from the set I posted yesterday were also used in a series of pics with Nancy Carroll: Another popular set of props originated with promotionals for I Married A Witch (1942): Those pumpkins show up all over the place: Virginia Welles Ann Savage   And three with Ann Miller, taken at least a decade after the Veronica Lake film: : In this one, Ann is posed with the same striped cat that was in the Elaine Stewart picture I posted earlier this month. Speaking of cats, Ava Gardner and June Knight have the same one, painted differently, and I think the same broom with a different rein: This all started a few days ago when Thomas, in comments of that Elaine Stewart post, brought up the hilarious cats that show up in these Halloween cheesecake pics. I went searching for a specific photo I was looking for and found these two, which have the same wiry black thing shaped vaguely like a cat: Joyce Holden   Jane Adams and Patricia Alphine And finally, right back where we began, with Clara Bow and those freakish cats I went looking for in the first place: You’re welcome for the nightmares.

Madam Satan (1930)

A little Madam Satan photo gallery for this delightful October morning. Above is the fashion sketch by Adrian for Madam Satan’s deadly ball gown.

Dracula (1931)

Dracula (1931) photo gallery

Camp & Cult Blogathon: The Lady From Shanghai (1947) photo gallery

It’s Day Four of the Camp & Cult Blogathon! Read everyone’s terrific entries for the ‘thon here at the main Camp & Cult Page ! I’m tweeting entries via my account @glitterninja, using the hashtag #sbbnccb if I can fit it into the tweet. If you have a post you want to submit, comment or email me a link. Details here! *** Through bad planning and a lack of understanding the basic concept behind a 24-hour day, I’ve been several hours behind on my daily posts for the ‘thon since the beginning. In an effort to catch up, please accept this photo gallery for one of my favorite campy films. Actual written content will resume with tomorrow’s post.